Introduction to the wonderful country of Zimbabwe
For the latter part of the 20th century, Zimbabwe was the ‘place to go’ on safari in Africa. Wonderful and varied scenery, fantastic hospitality, great game-viewing, varied safari activities and a reputation for having the best safari guides in Africa, all added up to make Zimbabwe pretty irresistible to the safari connoisseur. Unfortunately, the political situation since then has had a deep impact on the country as a holiday destination.
While general game-viewing was always excellent in a number of parks, especially Hwange, the country was especially known for offering fantastic walking safaris, led by the continents best professional guides who would take you in search of big game, as well as teaching you about the smaller details of the bush. In addition, Mana Pools on the Lower Zambezi and Matusadona on the shores of Lake Kariba offered some of the best water-based game-viewing and fishing available in Africa. Of particular note were the canoeing safaris along the Mana Pools shoreline, which were often combined with walking safaris. Victoria Falls, the world’s widest waterfall, is a major attraction and to see the falls from the air during full flood is one of Africa’s great sights.
In addition to Hwange, Matusadona, Mana Pools and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe’s other highlights include the Eastern Highlands, a mountainous area of stunning beauty, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins near Masvingo, the Matobo Hills near Bulawayo, Chizarira, Gonarezhou and Kazuma Pan.
Zimbabwe will return as a major safari destination and there are already signs that a recovery is imminent. This will not mean an automatic return to the fluid safari infrastructure and high safari standards set in the past, but it is a huge step in the right direction. Our best guess is to say that if you are a fairly ‘pioneering’ kind of traveller and are happy to make use of the great value for money Zimbabwe currently offers, then now is the time to visit. If however you are looking for a holiday with high all round standards, extremely reliable transport between regions and guaranteed game-viewing, or if you are inevitably going to be comparing Zimbabwe now to Zimbabwe in the nineties, then you may be better to hold off for a year or two whilst the industry, local peoples and game populations all find their feet and begin to thrive again.
For further information and advice on Zimbabwe safari options please call us on 01787 888590 or contact us to speak to one of our experienced safari specialists.